Monday, 24 January 2011

Enter the Void (DVD Review)

Courtesy of eOne Films

Dir: Gaspar Noé (Irreversible)
Cast: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, Olly Alexander, Masato Tanno, Emily Alyn Lind, Jesse Kuhn
France/Germany/Italy, 2010

Reason to see: Complete polarizing reports ranging from wild acclaim to completely not, got me complete curious.

Finally I got to see Enter the Void. I was excited but hesisitant going it as director Gaspar Noé also brought us the film Irreversible, which is one of the few films on my "I will never see it" but this one I thought I wouldn't have a problem with. And I didn't have a problem with Enter the Void as it is freaking brilliant.

Right from the get go Enter the Void stakes it's claim at being highly demanding visually with an aggressive strobe-light like opening credits sequences which is just the first among effects, moments, ideas and images that can an will turn people off the film (see full warnings below). But I love the fact that it was aggressive, unapologetic, neon-gritty and full of abrasiveness while also being definitively trippy, floating and dream like. Whether it's a singular, long conversation in real time between protagonist Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) and his drug-buddy Alex (Cyril Roy) or an all-out dream-like feeling sequence, the film requires the audience to be 100% actively engaged in the film. This is in part because you have to work to figure out what is going on, or trying to understand what someone is saying (either literally or contextually) or just to figure out where they are. After all that work, it feels like we get a virtual reward via visual treat of neon-heavy and heady lights contrasted against often dark settings of nighttime and night clubs.

We also get a highly successful use of first person point-of-view perspective, which I adored. I'm curious if people found it hard to connect to Oscar from this point-of-view, but I found it immensely effective especially when trying to understand him as a character as well as his relationship with his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta), which is the central relationship of the film and although it isn't like any other sibling relationship I've seen on screen it does depict a beautiful sense of family.

Enter the Void is one of the most experiential films I've ever watched and even with all the warnings, jarring visuals, disturbing images and a running time of 2 hours and 41 minutes I'd happily watch it over and over again because it is literally a piece of art. An absolutely formidable vision brought to the screen.

Warnings (visual) flashing lights, strobe lights, shaky-cam, trippy-visuals. Pretty much anything you can think of that can push the visually boundaries is in here.

Warnings (content) Explicit sexuality, disturbing situations, violence

DVD Extras:
  • Deleted Scenes (8 Scenes, 12 Minutes) These were really interesting to watch, and understandable to cut considering the film is already over 2 1/2 hours. I did absolutely love #4 (and it's just cool that they are numbered), although think it would have been too weird to have in the film.
  • Teasers (7 teasers, 7 minutes) these are great, show a nice range of different takes on same idea and different ways to hook, connect and grab the audiences attention
  • Trailers (2 trailers, 3 minutes)
  • US Trailer (2 minutes)
  • Unused Trailers (6 trailers, 4 minutes)
  • VXF (11 minutes) It's kind of wild that the visual effects extra has absolutely zero verbal explanation but rather is a visual depiction of the effects themselves, often the use of layered effects. Beautiful to watch to boot.
  • Vortex (5 minutes) Exactly what it sounds like, a changing vortex that's stunning to watch.
  • DMT (2 minutes) More great visuals to enjoy, these ones are more geometric and constructed over the rather organic vortex.
  • Posters - 20 poster images
Enter the Void is available on DVD and BluRay as of January 25, 2011. Check it out over at (DVD), [Blu-ray] & (DVD), [Blu-ray]

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll watch it again, repeatedly
I'd highly recommend it, but strongly advise noting the warnings before viewing

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

Paz de la Huerta in Enter the Void - Courtesy of eOne Films

Courtesy of eOne Films


blake said...

It's so good to read this. I thought I was losing my mind thinking this was such a brilliant movie while everyone else is dismissing it as rubbish.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

It's one that is easy to think you are losing your mind over, for more than one reason! I mostly heard acclaim, but I can see people dismissing it, which is odd because even as a technical feat it's astonishing let along having an amazing vision, story, atmosphere and tone. But there are *so* many things in it that can turn people off.

It's a bit of a hard sell, but I hope people will be willing to go with it and enjoy it.

The Taxi Driver said...

Does Eone provide you with DVDs? How did you swing that? Nice review as well. I tend to be reserved when it comes to movies like this because I always like to watch movies by stylists over decorators (which Noe certainly seems to be) but I look forward to it all the same.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Stylists over decorators - I'm thinking about that one, and can't quite place where I would separate one or the other. Found materials over created from scratch?

As to your question, I have built up many relationships in the industry over the years, including eOne.

Thanks for the kudos on the review - this one was challenging as it's so experiential & high concept but I loved it to bits.

Franco Macabro said...

Loved this movie, I felt like I was living it. All the more effective when everything happens! A masterpiece! Ever seen his other film I Stand Alone?

Also a shocking film, only not as visually astounding as this one. The schock likes more in the protagonists actions. Recommend it as well.

The Taxi Driver said...

Shannon - A stylist is someone who recognizes that the film's style is dictated by the story and that the two are connected and cannot be separated from one another, and thus the style goes towards telling the story. The Informant is one of the most stylized movies I have seen recently as are Clint Eastwood films, Scorsese, etc. Decorators are simply those people who throw in a lot of decoration to substitute for the story because, at heart, they are second rate storytellers. Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam are the two biggest culprits under this umbrella. Decoration does nothing for me. Style is what separates the good movies from the greats.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Sounds like we are totally on the same page with this one Connoisseur! I really loved it, which is such a nice pay off after being leery going it. I've not seen I Stand Alone, but sounds like I need to!

Wow Mike, that's a pretty heavy-duty combination of definitive + opinion description of the two takes on things. I've never heard those words used beyond actual art/prod/costume pieces of a work. Very interesting.

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